Once and Future

by G. Kevin Wilson

Historical/Time Travel/Arthurian
1998

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Once a highly anticipated game for years, now forgotten. Arthurian fantasy, February 3, 2016

I discovered Once and Future when looking at old XYZZY awards. The author of this game worked on it for 5 years in the 90's, frequently posting on forums about it, building everyone up to a huge excitement. It was released as the first big commercial game in years, and a whole issue of SPAG magazine was dedicated to it.

How does it fare? It is a fun, well-polished Arthurian game. An American soldier dies in Vietnam, and is taken to Avalon, being charged with a mission by Arthur to stop a terrible event in America's history.

Many reviewers noted that the writing is uneven, with the author having written it over 5 years and improving it in that time. Parts of it, like those with the (Spoiler - click to show)Straw King, are stirring and powerful. Others just seem like the author gave up; for instance, at one point your character openly complains about the endless scavenger hunts, and it is just laughed off.

This is a puzzle-heavy game, with two exceptionally hard puzzles. Fans of Mulldoon Legacy will get a kick out of this.

It is very long; following the walkthrough, I beat it in 1338 turns.

I believe I actually prefer Eric Eve's Arthurian epic, Blighted Isle, to this game. Eric Eve has more and better NPC's, more optional quests, lighter puzzles, and a better (though similar) backstory. My only quibble with Blighted Isle was its treatment of women, but Once and Future suffers from similar issues at times. However, Once and Future is more poetic/trippy than the prosaic Blighted Isle.

This all sounds negative, but I recommend this game to everyone. There is scattered strong profanity (mostly by soldiers in life-or-death situations), as well as a few mild sexual references.



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